THE BREWSKI REPORT Tommy Brewski: My Beer. My Life.

December 23, 2010

Clipper City’s Winter Storm ESB Review 12.23.10

Thar She Blows - A Category 5 Taste Sensation?

Thar She Blows - A Category 5 Taste Sensation?

The Brewski Report Reviews Clipper City’s Heavy Seas Winter Storm “Category 5” Ale
File Date: 12.23.10

 File Name: Winter Ranks Fourth in Seasons
The Beer: Heavy Seas Winter Storm
Type: Extra Special/Strong Bitter (ESB)
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 7.5% ABV
Brewer: Clipper City Brewing Co.
Web Site: www.clippercitybeer.com
State/Country of Origin: ME, USA
Brewer Info: Brewed by Baltimore’s Clipper City Brewing Co., Heavy Seas is produced by Baltimore craft beer pioneer Hugh Sisson – the brewery’s founder and managing partner – and Brewmaster Ernesto Igot, formerly brewmaster at San Miguel Brewery in the Philippines.  After successfully lobbying the Maryland Legislature to legalize brewpubs, Hugh began brewing professionally in 1989 at his family’s Baltimore pub – Sisson’s – which was coincidentally Maryland’s first brewpub.  In 1994 he left Sisson’s to found Clipper City and has been involved in all aspects of the business – brewing, finance, marketing, and sales. Combined, Hugh and Ernie represent over 50 years of experience in developing, producing, marketing, and selling fine beer.  Totally driven by a passion to make richly flavored beers, they are also focused on making beers with finesse and balance.  Their wealth of experience gives them a firm foundation in the values of traditional brewing methods, yet they also share a desire to create new beer experiences.  The result is a brand that captures the best of both worlds – modern beer thinking blended with the best elements of traditional methods.

tbr-winter-storm-labelBrewer Brand Hype: Our winter ale brewed with copious helpings of English malts and both U.S. and English hops making it a ruddy hued Imperial ESB in style. Full malty flavors dancing with powerful hop aromas and a lingering yet firm hop bitterness. Pairs well with very sharp cheddar, stews, and grilled ribs. Available October – December.
Label: This here pounder has a fine layer of yeast at her bottom. It won’t send you to Davey Jones’ locker, but will protect your brew from the rigors of life at sea. Hang on…it’s a Category 5 Ale! With a full ruby hue, vivid malty flavor, and earthy hop aroma, Winter Storm is an original – an Imperial ESB for the winter months.

The Brewski Review: I’m tired of winter already. Look at the street in front of my house (see picture below). Just kidding. I will say though, my tolorance for winter has abated in my ‘experienced’ years. I don’t really mind the cold weather so much as the snow. Just tired of it all. Move to FLA you SAY? No. Too humid and hot. Fall is my favorite time of year followed close by Spring. That’s why I’ll stay up north. Part of my journalistic endeavor here is to isolate the best beers to drink in any season. So, at some point down the road I’ll at least have a list of winter beers to keep me warm inside while I wait out the cold season. Like this Clipper City Brew: it  a nice winter beer. Hearty with an bitter finish (obviously). But, there were some nice hop and malt characteristics in the taste. Nice tasting ESB.

Drinkability: Yes. Would purchase again.
Appearance: Medium ruby color.
The Buds: Good malty flavor.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.50 crowns out of 5.

The snow has really piled up on the street in front of my house.

The snow has really piled up on the street in front of my house.

December 18, 2010

Breckenridge’s Christmas Ale Beer Review 12.18.10

What A Great, Dark Rich Color.

What A Great, Dark Rich Color.

The Brewski Report Reviews Breckenridge’s Christmas Ale
File Date: 12.18.10

File Name: Great shelf appeal. 
The Beer: Christmas Ale
Type: Winter Warmer
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 7.4% ABV
Brewer: Breckenridge BBQ & Brew
Web Site: www.breckbrew.com
Country of Origin: CO, USA
Brewer Info: Back in the 1980s our founder, Richard Squire, had a dream – to ski all day and drink great beer every night. Since he lived in the snow-kissed Rocky Mountains, fulfilling the skiing portion of his dream was easy. But the great beer part – at a time when a “microbrew” was a rarity – that was another story. So Richard started brewing his own, more flavorful beers for himself and his thrill-seeking ski pals. His homebrewed creations were a hit, and soon Richard was spending more time brewing than skiing. So he chased after another dream – making exceptional beer for a living. In February, 1990 that dream became reality when Richard opened the original Breckenridge Brewery & Pub in the town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Richard’s ski bum days were over, and so were the days of bland beer for the folks in Colorado’s ski country.

tbr-retro-labelBrewer Brand Hype: The chill of a Colorado high-country winter calls for a beer with extra flavor and warming characteristics. Here it is. Breck Brew’s Christmas Ale. At over 7% alcohol, with a sturdy texture and rich flavors of caramel and chocolate, our holiday seasonal is the fermented equivalent of a good fire. The ultimate winter warmer.
Label: Plenty of good cheer.  Good friends ever near.

The Brewski Review: As for the beer, I wouldn’t recommend this one.  It looked good in the glass: Brown to ruby brown in  with a nice foamy, muddy colored head.  The head dissipated quickly.  The taste though, wasn’t very pleasant to me.  It had a very strong aftertaste.  I drank about 3/4 of the bottle and had to pour the rest down the drain.  I didn’t get sick, but it was not an enjoyable beverage for me to drink. I really wanted it to taste good just because I loved the retro holiday label which looked so cool. Can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Drinkability:  Most likely not.
Appearance: Brown to ruby brown in color
The Buds: Big aftertaste. Malty and Bitter.
TBR Cap Rating: 2.75 out of 5.

December 10, 2010

Rinkuskiu’s Missing Elf Double Bock Beer Review 12.10.10

Santa Would Be Completely Useless If He Pounded A Couple Of His Missing Elf.

Santa Would Be Completely Useless If He Pounded A Couple Of His Missing Elf.

The Brewski Report Reviews Missing Elf Doppelbock Beer
File Date: 12.10.10

File Name: Getting Old Has It’s Price
The Beer: Missing Elf 
Type: Doppelbock
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 9.5% ABV
Brewer: Rinkuskiu Alaus Darykla
Web Site: www.rinkuskiai.lt
State/Country of Origin: Lithuania
Brewer Info: Brewery Rinkuskiai. Birzai region has been known as the capital of Lithuanian brewers. Beer has been produced here for many centuries. There are 4 large breweries and many small breweries in Birzai region that produce more than 15 mln liters of beer per year for just 35 thousand population of Birzai! Birzai people have deep beer drinking traditions and one person drinks as much as 160 litres of beer per year! No festival or family parties start and end without dark and rich beer with a slight sweet taste that usually deceives guests thinking that the beer is very light. Unfortunately, they find themselves ending the party too early… If you have never visited Lithuania it is worth to come here and see kind and merry people of Birzai region and drink a nice glass of good traditional beer. Cheers! Brewery Rinkuskiai was established in the year 1991 in Birzai region known as Beer Country in Lithuania. The brewery stands No 5 in the market right after four largest breweries in Lithuania. Rinkuskiai beer is natural. Only pure high quality water, original yeast, hops and traditional light malt is used for production. For some brands caramel malt is used. No pees, rice and other non-malt products are used for Rinkuskiai beer production. Rinkuskiai beer quality is the result of old traditions of Beer Country, experience of the past generations, and innovations of the modern days. That makes Rinkuskiai beer one of the most exclusive in Lithuania.

tbr-missingelf-labelBrewer Brand Hype: Naturally fermented.
Label: Brewery Rinkuskiai was established in the year 1991in Birzai region known as Beer Country in Lithuania.  Rinkuskiai beer quality is a result of old traditions of Beer Country, experience of the past generations, and innovations of the modern days.  That makes Rinkuskiai beer one of the most exclusive in Lithuania.  Beer Missing Elf is naturally fermented, the most heating and famous beer of Beer Country!

The Brewski Review: This appears to have a Christmas / Seasonal flavor to it so I pulled it out of the fridge and poured a glass.  I would have to say it was very buttery tasting.  It was rather mild and not very bitter.  Not much of an aftertaste.  It was a decent beverage.  I would have to say I guess I’m beginning to be a lightweight in my older age.  This beer about put me to sleep.  I was doing some work around the house when I drank this and after finishing, I was all but useless.  I layed on the family room floor and wanted to sleep but my kids made sure that wasn’t going to happen.

Drinkability: One pint of seriously high ABV.
Appearance: Light golden color
The Buds: Buttery tasting.  Quick head dissipates fast.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 out of 5

December 4, 2010

Thirsty Dog’s 12 Dogs of Christmas Beer Review 12.4.2010

12 Thirsty Dogs Would Be Panting Quite A Bit.

12 Thirsty Dogs Would Be Panting Quite A Bit.

The Brewski Report Files One For Thirsty Dog’s 12 Dogs of Christmas
File Date: 12.4.10

File Name: Woodworking Is Theraputic
The Beer: 12 Dogs Of Christmas
Type: Winter Warmer
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 8.3% ABV
Brewer: Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.
Web Site: www.thirstydog.com
State/Country of Origin: OH, USA
Brewer Info: Here at the Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, full flavor, delicate balance, texture and aroma combine to make beer an infinitely complex and thoroughly enjoyable experience. Each of our beers is meticulously hand crafted in small batches using the finest ingredients. High quality malted barley is the source of the beer’s sweetness and body. Select American and European hops are used to balance the malt sweetness, and at times to add special flavors and aromas to the beer. Our carefully selected ingredients, along with our specially designed recipes and brewing processes, give Thirsty Dog beers unique flavor profiles that are hard to find in today’s mass-market “one size fits all” society. Our craft brewed beers are far more diverse in range and character than the small spectrum of mass-market beers offered to the American public by the large national breweries. Enjoy the diversity and unleash the flavor today. Welcome to Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, and welcome to great beer!

tbr-thirsty-dog-logoBrewer Brand Hype: Spiced for the holidays with honey, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and Santa’s secret recipe.
Label: This beer’s name sums up the idea of bringing the best together to celebrate.  It is filled with seasonal flavors from generous amounts of toasted and caramel malts, mixed with equally generous amounts of honey, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  We feel it’s the perfect libation, filled with flavors of the season.

The Brewski Review:  The pace of the work around my house has slowed considerably. When I concoct a project in my I do myself no favors by limiting my time. What I need to do is take my planned timeline and multiply it by five so I’ll be closer to a realistic completion date. Case in point: my wife and I went shopping for the kids at the verable toy institution Toys-r-Us a few days ago. I noticed a wooden train set assembled on a little wooden table. What a great idea. A simple little table. I figured it would take longer to map out the cuts on a 1/2 pc of plywood than to assemble the table. Wrong. The project took me about a month to complete. Between work and the family, I don’t have the time to complete these project so I don’t know why I sign up for them. Yet, I still get pulled by my wife about not spending enough time with the family or considering them before my projects. She says I do things I ‘want’ to do like work on the house, cars or our rental property while she does things she ‘has’ to do like take care of the kids and cook. I drop my head in defeat. I always hope I win the lottery because I see no way out of this quandry. Until then, I keep plugging along…..all without the help of a therapist. Remarkable isn’t it? Maybe I should drink more often. This beer would be a good place to start. Says Ale brewed with honey and spices.  It didn’t appear to add much to the taste because I didn’t think it was all that fantastic.  Maybe if I were to have drank it outside in the bittery cold it would warm me up and taste better?  Perhaps, but why would I want to do that? Oh yeah, the table? See pics of how it turned out. Finished it on New Years Eve Day. (Obviously, this article is back-dated.)

Drinkability: Average winter warmer.  Wouldn’t drink it again.
Appearance: Generous head at pour.  Dissipates quickly.
The Buds: Honey & Spice flavor didn’t stand out.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The completed project. The whole set up on top of the table was destroyed about 5 minutes after my son came in the room and had seen that it was set up. He likes to walk through and detroy anything your doing or setting up.

The completed project. The whole set up on top of the table was destroyed about 5 minutes after my son came in the room. He likes to walk through and detroy anything your doing or working on. As a parent your supposed to nurture your child's strong points. Aside from encouraging him to be a demolitions expert, I'm at a loss.

December 3, 2010

Bell’s Brewery’s Winter White Ale Beer Review 12.3.2010

The color isn't all too appealing. Looks like a typical American Adjunct Beer.

The color isn't all too appealing. Looks like a typical American Adjunct Beer.

The Brewski Report Reviews Bell’s Brewery’s Winter White Ale
File Date: 12.3.2010

File Name: Winter Wood Project
The Beer: Winter White Ale
Type: Witbier
Serving: Bottle
Stats: 5.0% ABV
Brewer: Bell’s Brewery Inc.
Web Site: www.bellsbeer.com
State/Country of Origin: MI, USA
Brewer Info: Bell’s Brewery, Inc. formerly Kalamazoo Brewing Company, founded by Larry Bell as a home-brewing supply shop in 1983, sold its first beer in 1985. Originally brewing in a 15-gallon soup kettle, the company has grown remarkably. Bell’s Brewery has grown from a tiny operation renting part of a former plumbing supply warehouse to a bustling, regional craft brewery. Although the “microbrewery” revolution began on the West Coast in the 1970s, the Midwest saw this brewing development much later. Bell’s Brewery stands as the oldest craft-brewer east of Boulder, Colorado. Originally self-distributed, Larry and crew brewed, bottled and delivered all of the beer to market for the company’s first four years. By 1989, Bell’s was shipping over 500 barrels annually and assigned its first wholesaler to further establish itself across the State of Michigan. After struggling several years to produce and sell robust, full-bodied ales against a tide of a mass-market domestic beer, Bell’s began to see the demand for craft beer grow dramatically. Bell’s soon ventured outside Michigan, continuing its solid growth and developing a reputation across the Midwest for the unique style and flavor of its Bell’s brands.

tbr-winter-white-tap-pullBrewer Brand Hype: A Wheat Ale brewed with American Wheat and a proprietary blend of Hefe and classice Belgian-style yeasts. A refreshing winter alternative created from the subtle fusion of two classic flavors.
Label: A seasonally nuanced wheat ale that is both stylish and refreshing.

The Brewski Review: Nice winter beverage. Spicy, just like other seasonal beers. Quite tasty. This one is a witbier but with the spices it changes the flavor quite a bit for me. I like witbier and I like the winter seasonals, but it’s hard to say that the combination of the two create a beer better than the flavors unto themselves. Just the same this is a worthy beverage that you’ll enjoy on a nice cool fall or winter day. Like when your outside getting your house ready for cold weather onslaught. I managed this pretty well myself. The largest project was the need to build a larger wood crib. All the wood has been put into the crib and covered for the winter but the project isn’t complete. I need to build a roof over it and add some other minor ‘architectural’ touches. If it’s going to be in my back yard I’m going to make it look relatively pleasing. I don’t want to stare at a pile of wood every day. When it’s complete I’ll be sure to post some pictures but until then here’s what it looks like right now.

Drinkability: Would drink this again.
Appearance: Pale golden color.
The Buds: The spice flavor is quite tasty.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

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